By Curtis Bagnall, Solution Engineer at Umbrella Managed Systems talks about Two Factor Authentication.
A Lazy Saturday Gone Wrong
I want to tell you about an event that happened to me on a sunny lazy Saturday morning about 6 years ago. I’d just finished my weekend morning ritual of cooking up and eating some B&Gs (biscuits and gravy) and didn’t have any other plans. I decided to play one of my favorite online games, World of Warcraft. You might have read about my love for this game in my previous Brocation blog post.
When I logged into my account, I found that my character had lost all the items and gold that I’d spent years gathering and collecting. My virtual treasures were nowhere to be found. After some investigating with the games support team, I learned that my password had been compromised by a hacker. They’d logged into my account and sold everything! Nooooooo! This was not how I imagined my lazy Saturday going! The sad thing is that this could have all been avoided if I had set up 2FA on my account.
It was a hard lesson that I’ve taken to heart.
So, What is 2FA?
2FA stands for Two Factor Authentication. Simply put, it’s an authentication mechanism to double check that “you are who you say you are” when accessing information. And it applies to your personal life as well as your business. On the personal side, it can help protect against identity theft. On the business side, it can help protect against stolen company data.
How Does 2FA Work?
I have a phone application called Google Authenticator that I link to any accounts that have a 2FA option. (There are many other applications that work as well, Google is just my preference.) After I’ve linked accounts, logging in becomes a 2-step process.
I will talk about my Gmail account as an example. When I log into Gmail.com, I sign in with my username and password like normal. Bu with 2FA enabled, Google then requires me to enter my MFA passcode. That’s when the Google Authenticator application comes into play. Google Authenticator generates a random code that changes every 30 seconds. And that’s what I have to type in before I get into my Gmail account. See how that works? It’s a two-step process… hence the name two-factor authentication.
Why should you use 2FA?
Passwords by themselves aren’t as effective as businesses need them to be. Today cyber attackers have the power to test billions of password combinations in a second. Security questions are also easy to figure out now that people are willing to share information and interests on social media. Some of the typical security questions have answers that can be found in public records.
2FA offers you that extra level of protection. It becomes incredibly hard for a hacker to break into your accounts when 2FA is enabled.
How we use it at Umbrella.
At Umbrella, we are adamant about securing information for ourselves and the businesses that we support. A few accounts that we use 2FA with are O365 email accounts, our ticketing system, our password database system, our knowledge base for clients, and when we need to remotely access our company network from home.
How Umbrella Can Help You?
If 2FA sounds like an idea that you or your company would be interested in implementing, we would love to help you get it up and running. It may sound complicated, but it’s a straight forward process. In our experience, users catch on rather quickly. Please call us if you would like to discuss 2FA further!